Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Scooter Resource -- CBS Report

With the high price of gas, you may be saying to yourself, "If only I could get rid of my car."

Actually, some people are doing just that by trading in a large SUV for a much smaller scooter. It's a trend that is sending sales of these road trippers soaring.

Always popular across the pond in cities such as Rome and Paris, scooters are now being embraced more and more by Americans such as 48-year-old Leslie Taylor from Portland, Ore.

"I get a lot of high-fives from motorcycle riders who go by," Taylor tells The Early Show ConsumerWatch correspondent Susan Koeppen.

Tired of paying $50 dollars to fill the tank in her SUV, she recently bought a scooter to save at the pump.

"My scooter takes one gallon of gas, about $2.57 right now, and that lasts me about a week and a half," she says.

Christine Gifford, who owns a Vespa dealership in Ridgefield, Conn., says her sales are up 20 percent over last year thanks in part to prices at the pump.

"I get 70 miles to the gallon. You can't get that in an SUV," Gifford says.

Patti Russell normally drives a gas-guzzler. Now she's ready to scoot around town on her newest investment, a hot red scooter.

Her husband was thinking gas prices, but Russell says she was thinking, "fun." She's even fighting with daughter Annie over who gets to ride it.

There was a time scooter riders were considered geeks. "Now it's completely different," Annie Russell says.

Even though she's nine months pregnant, Koeppen had to give a scooter a try, and found it was fun. So the next time you check out your rear view mirror, don' t be surprised if you see someone on a scooter, smiling.

With today's gas prices, Taylor is laughing all the way to the bank. She is not the only one. Bev Binson is such an enthusiast that four years ago she decided to start her own publication, Scooter World Magazine. Friday she visited The Early Show to talk about some of the most popular models:

* VESPA LX 150: MSRP $4,199

* KYMCO PEOPLE 250: MSRP $3,999


Depending on its size, a scooter can get upwards of 70 miles of gas per gallon and can go anywhere between 35 and 70 mph. Some can even go over 100 mph. According data provided by Vespa, a scooter can save you over $600 a year in gasoline annually compared to a Toyota Camry, and almost $3,000 compared to a Hummer.

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